The research, conducted by Adelphi Universitys Anagnostis Agelarakis, has outlined the use of olives and olive oil in antiquity, ancient and traditional cultivation methods, and olives and human nutrition and health.
Olive oil was not only considered as a health product in ancient Greece, but something that had in essence a divine power embedded in it – defined in a pragmatic way, not in a occult or abstract way.
It was a gift of the goddess Athena to the Athenians, therefore, it had the emblematic presence of the goddess.
It was not only used in the Olympic Games to anoint the athletes, but whenever somebody would be in the gymnasium or the palaestra, they used to apply olive oil on their body surfaces.
The people of that time period had a particular type of scraper (strigil) that they used to then collect all the olive oil and sweat and so on that had accumulated on their skin surface.
Olive oil was also considered a necessary item for daily sustenance.
It was used to cook with and also used in the raw form in a salad dressing. In fact, a salad dressing of the ancient Greeks involved olive oil, extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, sea salt, and some honey and that then was shaken well, and it was drizzled over salads that they were preparing for eating.
Another usage of olive oil was that it was used as a base for making perfumes because it has the tendency to stay on the human skin for quite some time as it is fat soluble.
A definite proof that olive oil had a predominant place in daily lives of people in ancient Greece is the number of references to it in comedy plays of that period.
For example, in the play Pluto, by Aristophanes, it says that the container is full of white flour, the wine jar is run over with great wine, and the tank is full of oil, the vials with perfumes.
Mythology also speaks greatly about the importance of the oil, with the prominent example being the myth that the Athenians chose Athena instead of Poseidon as their patron deity after she offered them the olive tree.
It also had various medicinal usages in ancient Greece, with Hippocrates using olive oil-based ointments for all kinds of uses and for treating trauma, scratches, wounds, and concussions that are not too deeply penetrating, as the oil has healing power. (ANI)
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